The Daily Meal has you covered on apple cider doughnuts, apple crisp, and more apple recipes perfect for fall because few fruits pair better with the season. One slight issue you may encounter when shopping for your apples is the fact that most recipes call for the number of apples required, while the produce section usually sells them by the pound. Wouldn't it make life easier if you knew roughly how many of which kind of apple constitutes a pound? Well, read on: there's a handy rule of thumb for approximating apple weight without relying on a scale. Knowing it will serve you well in your autumnal grocery shopping adventures.
While between two and four apples will weigh a pound, the most obvious problem with proposing a rule-of-thumb, apples-per-pound calculator is that different apples vary pretty widely in weight! Cortland apples are pretty big characters, especially when compared to the diminutive Gala variety. Luckily, the rule relies on a sliding scale that's fairly easy to commit to memory -- especially once you understand how to approximate the size of the fruit (hint: it's relative to your hand).
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Calculating The Weight Of Small-To-Medium Apples
Forget the scale, all you need to figure out the size of an apple (and therefore how many make up a pound) is your own hand. Let's start with the little guys. Crab apples, McIntosh, and Gala all exist on the smaller end of the apple size spectrum, with the slightly tart McIntosh being particularly good for baking. (Don't sleep on sour-and-sweet crab apples, though: they're delicious in baked goods, if a little prep-heavy.) When dealing with apples that are small enough to be concealed in one hand -- and how well you can fit them in your hand is exactly how you'll calculate size -- count on four of them adding up to a pound.
Ida Red, Jonathan, and Empire apples are equally at home when eaten fresh or baked as part of a strudel. They're also generally medium-sized -- meaning they're fewer than three inches in diameter and while they can't be completely concealed by your hand, they can easily fit in your palm, like a tennis ball or baseball. Three medium-sized apples will weigh in at almost exactly one pound.
Runnin' With The Big Dogs, Er, Apples
Granny Smith, Cortland, Honey Crisp, and Golden Delicious varieties are all considered large apples, and every one of them is great for baking. Honestly, no amazing apple pie is complete without a mix of apples, and to that end, the acidic sourness of a good Granny Smith makes it indispensable. As you might have already figured out, large apples cannot be concealed in your hand, nor will they sit comfortably in your palm. Needless to say, it takes fewer of them to make up one pound in weight; usually, only two of these softball-sized fruits are all you'll need.
If you're not buying apples that are already bagged (and you shouldn't, unless your end goal is applesauce -- bruises and other defects need to be identified and avoided!), it's good to have an idea of what you'll be spending before you get to the checkout line. As luck would have it (at least with approximating the weight of fresh apples), the answer lies in the palm of your hand.
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